Sleep is essential for a healthy brain. It helps your brain process emotions and memories. You will wake up refreshed and have enough mental space to create new memories, log them, and process the day’s events.
On the other hand, sleep deprivation is like falling into an icy stream: “The body shuts off circulation to the appendages, and tries to keep your core warm. The body goes into survival mode,” states (a Charlottesville-based neurologist and author of The Sleep Solution). He says that if you don’t sleep well, your brain’s ability “to do things becomes whittled to: Find food, urinate and get through the day.”
This means that extra activities, such as conversations with your partner, social outings, or remembering to take up the dry cleaners, should be put on the back burner.
Sleep is so important for your relationships that it is almost unimaginable. Winter says that sleep deprivation can cause a lot of things to go wrong in a relationship.
These are the three ways insomnia can impact relationships and how you can get the energy to fight back.
You are out of control
Do you ever feel like your partner is not getting the point, or are you a bit more anxious after a long night? It could be that you are tired.
Winter says that when you are sleep-deprived, the brain part that links emotions to memories –the amygdala — doesn’t work properly. Winter suggests this could be due to the amygdala’s release of more or fewer neurotransmitters. This could cause you to react too quickly or not pay attention to others’ emotions. A 2013 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that poor sleepers’ amygdala activity toward stressors predicted depression symptoms and perceived stress.
In short, sleep can make us more reactive to situations that would normally not bother clinical psychologist and behavioural sleep medicine specialist, says this can lead to more conflict in relationships and less satisfaction.
He says, “If you’ve ever seen a 2-year old who missed a nap, then you can see how we all respond to sleep deprivation in terms our emotions.” Small problems can seem much bigger. Our reactions can be amplified. Studies show that people feel more depressed or sad if they don’t get enough sleep or aren’t getting enough sleep.
States that this is since our emotions are not often amplified.
Next time you feel anxious, irritable, or abrupt, consider how your sleep has been the last few nights. Winter suggests that the simple recognition that you may be reacting too quickly can help diffuse an issue.
Another tip is to save serious conversations for days when you are more rested. Winter believes sleeping more makes us less likely to engage in risky behaviour. Winter states that we make better decisions, are more patient, and can concentrate and listen when we’re well-rested (all essential components of a healthy relationship).
Lack of sleep can lead to tiredness and sickness
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep can lead to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and depression. He also says that insufficient sleep can lead to other problems, such as the common cold. This is another reason why you might not be able to get out with your partner.
If you are homesick, your desire to spend time with people or things other than your bed can drop. He says that this can negatively impact relationships. She says that if you are too tired or sick, it can lead to a loss of interest in events or dinners.
While the common cold may be a small-scale example, research indicates that being a caregiver can be stressful for partners and, in particular, the hurt mental health of women.
Relationship problems can arise from different sleep schedules
It can be difficult to plan to visit the people you care about if you are in a relationship that works odd hours. It can be hard to make time for a dinner party if your partner works nights and you work 9 to 5.
Winter states, “It is a rare person who can really nail the relationship and work unusual hours.”
He suggests that you share a Google Calendar with your loved ones. Winter suggests it can help you plan and remember what you have already done.
What should you do if your partner is on a very difficult schedule?
She says that meeting in the middle, such as asking your partner to wake up earlier or staying up a bit later, can help you secure more time together.
Most importantly, be respectful of your sleep needs. He says that couples sometimes feel they can be selfish and ask their partner for sleep to spend more time together. Spending quality time with your partner when they are most awake is better. She says a 30-minute conversation is more important to maintaining a healthy relationship than watching two hours.